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Shared parental leave will give working parents more choice in how they care for their child in the first year after the child’s birth, including by enabling the father to take a greater parenting role where this suits the family’s circumstances.
Although the right to take shared parental leave and pay is being introduced for parents with children due on or after 5 April 2015, employers are likely to feel the impact of the legislation much sooner than this.
Employees who may be eligible for shared parental leave may start to tell their employer about their pregnancy as early as this summer, and may be keen to know more about their rights and duties.
We round up the eight steps employers can take now to prepare for shared parental leave.
1. Communicate about shared parental leave
The introduction of shared parental leave and pay marks a historic departure from the traditional assumption that the mother will be the primary carer and gives parents a real choice. It is a significant new employment right, so to ensure that employees are aware of it - and what they need to do if they want to benefit from the right - employers should inform employees about its introduction.
A communication exercise would be a good opportunity for the employer to demonstrate its support for flexibility for working parents, and to explain any enhanced benefits it offers to employees on shared parental leave.
2. Establish process on eligibility for shared parental leave and pay